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noun, phi·los·o·phy \fə-ˈlä-s(ə-)fē\

Simple Definition of philosophy

  • : the study of ideas about knowledge, truth, the nature and meaning of life, etc.

  • : a particular set of ideas about knowledge, truth, the nature and meaning of life, etc.

  • : a set of ideas about how to do something or how to live

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of philosophy

plural -phies

  1. 1 a (1) :  all learning exclusive of technical precepts and practical arts (2) :  the sciences and liberal arts exclusive of medicine, law, and theology <a doctor of philosophy> (3) :  the 4-year college course of a major seminary b (1) archaic :  physical science (2) :  ethics c :  a discipline comprising as its core logic, aesthetics, ethics, metaphysics, and epistemology

  2. 2 a :  pursuit of wisdom b :  a search for a general understanding of values and reality by chiefly speculative rather than observational means c :  an analysis of the grounds of and concepts expressing fundamental beliefs

  3. 3 a :  a system of philosophical concepts b :  a theory underlying or regarding a sphere of activity or thought <the philosophy of war>

  4. 4 a :  the most basic beliefs, concepts, and attitudes of an individual or group b :  calmness of temper and judgment befitting a philosopher

Examples of philosophy in a sentence

  1. There's plenty of blame to go around: poor regulation, eight years of a failed Republican economic philosophy, Wall Street-friendly Democrats who helped stymie reform, misguided bipartisan efforts to promote home ownership, Wall Street greed, corrupt CEOs, a botched rescue effort, painfully fallible central bankers. —Daniel Gross, Newsweek, 9 Mar. 2009

  2. Broadly speaking, philosophy has three concerns: how the world hangs together, how our beliefs can be justified, and how to live. —Jim Holt, New York Times Book Review, 15 Feb. 2009

  3. Almost none of the kids were older than twenty-five, as if there were a sell-by date on radical social philosophy, a legal age limit after which one must surrender lofty ideals and shave off all dreadlocks. —Matthew Power, Harper's, March 2008

  4. In their mission statement, the editors bragged of their firm commitment to equality and social justice, but their philosophy didn't prevent them from summoning Lindsey to perform all their menial tasks. —Kim Wong Keltner, The Dim Sum of All Things, 2004

  5. Her degree is in philosophy and religion.

  6. The group eventually split over conflicting political philosophies.

  7. Her main cooking philosophy is to use only fresh ingredients.

Origin of philosophy

Middle English philosophie, from Anglo-French, from Latin philosophia, from Greek, from philosophos philosopher

First Known Use: 14th century

Rhymes with philosophy

PHILOSOPHY Defined for Kids


noun phi·los·o·phy \fə-ˈlä-sə-fē\

Definition of philosophy for Students

plural philosophies

  1. 1 :  the study of the basic ideas about knowledge, right and wrong, reasoning, and the value of things

  2. 2 :  a specific set of ideas of a person or a group <Greek philosophy>

  3. 3 :  a set of ideas about how to do something or how to live <Live and let live—that's my philosophy.>

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